May 2, 2013
Farm Truck, Philadelphia PA
Artichoke Pesto Sandwich
Pesto? Check. Mozzarella? Check. Tomatoes? Check. Freshly pressed or toasted bread? Check. Thank you, Farm Truck, for a wonderful lunch, and for throwing some artichoke in there, as well!
The Artichoke Pesto Sandwich was absolutely delightful. The sourdough bread was rustic and quite nice. The mozzarella was fresh and light while retaining that bouncy chewiness. The artichoke pesto was just delightfully aromatic, and the roasted tomatoes were sour and had a deep flavour, that of a good quality tomato. This sandwich made me a very happy girl.
March 15, 2013
Quiznos, Philadelphia PA
Lobster & Seafood Salad
Quiznos’ limited-time promotional item, the Lobster & Seafood Salad, was something I had my eye on last year but never got around to trying it. It was actually pretty good. Full of seafood and a little lobster meat, it was tender and just a tad creamy. The texture was great and the salad with tomatoes was refreshing.
The Chicken Milano, which I got with rosemary parmesan bread, looked better in the promotional photo than in real life. It did taste okay, with tender chicken and melted mozzarella and 3-cheese blend. The tomatoes and lettuce were refreshing but I loved the sun-dried tomato and basil pestos. Those two flavours came together nicely on the toasty warm bread.
The Chili was actually decent, with lots of beans and ground beef. It had a nice tomato flavour that was filled with spices and was decently thick.
I will say that Quiznos really needs to lower their prices, especially when their food selections are no longer rare wherever you are. $5+ for a small sub sandwich is just no longer acceptable.
March 12, 2013
Seasons at Drexel, Philadelphia PA
Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich
Seasons at Drexel draws my attention every time I pass it, with its brightly lit, clean interior and delicious cafe fare in its showcases.
The Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich was very good, although it seemed more like a multigrain roll rather than a ciabatta. The Mediterranean vegetable caponata (eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, and perhaps another type that I do not recall), kalamata, and sundried tomato tapenade inside was very flavourful, tasty and not too greasy. It paired nicely with the fresh mozzarella, making for a very good quality sandwich.
The Pear Strudel just sounded too good to pass. The flaky pastry was incredibly, well, flaky, after being toasted. It broke apart so easily and got crumbs all over the place. The brown sugar and pear mixture inside was sweet on sweet but I did not mind as the pastry shell was not sweet itself. It was a gooey, sweet mess.
Their food is quite pricey for what they are offering but at least the quality is good and the service friendly. They also have some interesting items that cannot be found elsewhere near campus, so that was definitely a plus!
March 11, 2013
Allegro Pizza & Grill, Philadelphia PA
After endless dinners of cheese, pepperoni, and vegetable pizzas from Allegro during club meetings and various events, it was time I tried some other dishes at the ever so popular casual diner on campus.
The Vegetable Panini was not bad. I did like the variety of grilled vegetables inside as they were not too greasy: broccoli, spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I asked for mozzarella but it was neither gooey nor flavourful, too processed I guess. The home-made focaccia was a little thin and not soft enough for me. It was almost like flatbread. The fries that came with it were at least cooked to a good texture.
The Spanish Omelette, which I got with egg whites, was decent but slightly greasy. I did like the vegetables but egg whites are supposed to be light and not have too much oil on it. The server was nice enough to allow me to substitute home fries for fruit salad without additional charges since I had fries with my panini already. The toast was not the right texture, though. One was too crispy, almost burnt, and the other not crispy enough.
Finally, the Tiramisu was obviously not homemade. However, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The creamy texture was light and it did have soaked lady finger-like cake at the bottom with a strong coffee flavour.
For a quick meal, students are usually satisfied with what can be found here. It is relatively clean and not too expensive, with an extensive menu beyond just pizzas.
March 2, 2013
Balducci’s, New York NY
Everything in New York is expensive and that certainly includes lunch at the airport. $10 for a panini from Balducci’s at JFK was pretty outrageous, but at least it was good. It was definitely possible to pay $10 and be extremely disappointed. Luckily, this was not one of those times.
The Italian Panini had quite a lot of some salty but delicious prosciutto along with tomato, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella. The tomatoes were not in season, but the pesto had good flavour. The mozzarella was light and yummy. I do appreciate that they can properly press a panini so that the ciabatta was crispy on the outside yet still soft and warm on the inside. It was not a very large sandwich but it was very filling. At least the airport still has acceptable food so that even if my wallet cries, my taste buds are not.
March 1, 2013
Brysi Cafe, Philadelphia PA
Sticky Monkey Sandwich
Not only was March National Flour Month and National Peanut Month, March 1 was also National Peanut Butter Day. On my last day on campus before the break, I knew I just had to pay a visit to Brysi Café, having seen the ad in the weekly email I receive about their Sticky Monkey Sandwich. The café was spacious and relaxing, with a few tables and a counter filled with healthy bars and treats since it is located in a fitness center. They make their sandwiches to order so it comes off the panini press crispy on the outside and toasty hot.
First, I opted for the Caprese Sandwich on wheat bread. The mozzarella was very fresh and the pesto was oily and aromatic, soaking into the nicely pressed and slightly sweet bread. Whole wheat bread is lovely when you can actually taste that light sweet undertone. The vine ripe tomatoes were not very flavourful, though, probably because of the season. The baby spinach was actually replaced with the kind that has huge, slightly curly leaves.
The Sticky Monkey Sandwich on white bread was absolutely scrumptious. The crispy yet soft bread went really well with the peanut butter, honey, sliced bananas, and pumpkin seeds. I loved the savoury and sweet blend of sticky peanut butter and honey. They just stuck like glue. The bananas added to the sweetness and aroma while the pepitas were a delightful crunch.
I would love to come here after a workout for a healthy, light meal. Next time, I shall give their breakfast, smoothie, and other sandwich options a try.
February 22, 2013
Penn Bookstore Cafe, Philadelphia PA
Chocolate Lava Cake
Mango Raspberry Twist Frappuccino Blended Beverage
The Penn Bookstore Café is one of the most popular study spots on campus, offering a slightly more exotic drink menu and various delicious-looking desserts and lunch options. The atmosphere in the bookstore is also nice, quiet without the stress of a regular school building. The smell of coffee also helps.
My Chocolate Lava Cake was decent enough, especially since it had a very strong chocolate flavour. The base of the cake was a little dry but the top was more of a ganache that was sweet, sticky, and amazing. It did lack the molten chocolate gushing out of the cake though, so I would not exactly call this a lava cake.
The Tomato Caprese panini was pricy at $6.50 but very delicious. It was pressed nicely and the mozzarella was light and fresh, as were the tomatoes. There was plenty of pesto, which added to the richness of the panini. I never mind a little too much olive oil and pesto so it was great for me.
Although their drinks are very similar to Starbucks, they offered a Mango Raspberry Twist Frappuccino Blended Beverage not available elsewhere. It was such a pretty color and tasted even more amazing, with a very strong flavour of mango puree. The raspberry was more in the background and just added another tone to the tang and sweetness. It was so refreshing.
I am definitely coming back here more often to try their other interesting desserts, drinks, and sandwiches. They also offer soup, which seems to be delicious on a cold day.